It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the discovery phase in launching a new digital product. Despite the discovery phase being such a useful tool for launching a successful product, many digital entrepreneurs skip this important step before starting out.
We get it. After all, one of the most exciting aspects of the digital economy is how fast and easy it is to start a business or release a project. This reality is one of the reasons that the discovery phase is so important.
Making the Case for the Discovery Phase
Some reasons business owners overlook the discovery phase include:
- Time constraints
- Lack of funds before going to market
- Convinced we already know everything
- Excitement to get started
The first thing to keep in mind, before we even delve into the discovery phase, is that every digital entrepreneur feels that same rush of excitement before launching a product. Taking the time to conduct market research means you’re showing restraint and thinking critically while most others aren’t.
The discovery phase gives you an unprecedented advantage in the marketplace. As business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to investigate every advantage available to us.
But what is the discovery phase? Let’s dig into project discovery and find out how it can help your project thrive!
Investigating The Discovery Phase
Let’s start at the beginning and define our terminology.
What is the Discovery Phase?
There are five main stages of launching a digital project. They are:
- Cultivate a strategy
The discovery phase is part of the research stage of a project. It’s the next step after the initial strategy is conceived, where you formulate your initial idea and plan of attack.
The discovery phase is very similar to conducting market research in the traditional business model. There’s a bit more to it when dealing with UX and digital design, however.
Digging Into The Discovery Phase
As UX and Digital Design have so many more moving parts than a traditional business model, the discovery phase is going to be more involved and detailed. You’ll have to have a solid understanding of data and analytics as well as business and marketing to handle the discovery phase properly.
As a general rule-of-thumb, the discovery phase has five steps.
5 Steps Of The Discovery Phase
- Establish business goals
- Understand what a successful outcome would look like
- Conduct user research
- Monitor the customer journey
- Investigate the competition
Several of these steps are very similar to a traditional business strategy. In many respects, the discovery phase is just like conducting market research or assessing UX satisfaction.
Often, developing a new digital product takes us into unexplored territory. We must become scientists and data analysts as well as marketers at that point. Creating a structured methodology for your discovery phase will help give you actionable data for later analysis.
Much of digital development is simply creating simple digital tools, like a shopping cart for an eCommerce site. Your client may be in a hurry and may not want to bother with the discovery phase. It’s in both of your best interests to do so, however.
The Importance of The Discovery Phase
Proving ROI to investors and business owners is a common hurdle for anyone working in the digital economy. This can be especially true for developers, as you are creating a product out of thin air. You are basically scientists, artists, and engineers, until the moment when a concrete product is unveiled.
At that point, you become business people and marketers. Investors understand business and marketing. They don’t always know how to appreciate art or science, however, especially when they’ve got money on the line.
The first and most important reason why the discovery phase is so important is it leads to a better product. After all, would a major corporation unleash a high-profile product without conducting market research? Imagine what would have happened had Microsoft unleashed Windows 98 before Bill Gates’ embarrassing TV blunder?
You’d have a lot of unhappy customers and reams of bad press. Either of which can be difficult, if not impossible, to recover from.
Boosting Success Rate with Discovery
The discovery phase also constitutes traditional market research as well, remember. That means delving into your industry and seeing what your competitors are up to. This reveals other opportunities to save time, money, and resources.
Some of the reasons for the discovery phase are idealistic as well as practical. Spending some time on this important step gives you an insight into the actual need for your digital product. These insights will play into every other stage of your business plan from the marketing to the physical presentation.
It will also make sure that you’re creating something of real value that people will use and love. Yes, you could turn a profit on another short-sighted gadget, but probably not in the long-run. You also run the risk of damaging your reputation irrevocably.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure,” as the old saying goes. It’s better to have foresight than to try and play catch-up down the line. Some mistakes can likely be fixed but some cannot.
A thorough discovery phase will discover all of these bugs, and some you didn’t envision, along the way. It also gives you an insight into the business climate in that industry which can be leveraged for any number of ends.
Thinking Of Building A Digital Product or Website?
Good thinking! The Internet continues to expand and evolve with each passing day. It’s constantly reshaping the way we conduct business and market ourselves.
Whether you’re in the discovery phase or getting ready to launch, working with a dedicated team of passionate digital developers will make your life much easier. Contact us today and let us help you bring your vision to life!